Jamaica Gleaner / There are many things in our lives that we don’t realise invite oppression, and if we know what those things are, then we are armed with information that can help us to rise above oppression and enjoy full lives.
Signs and symbols A sign is “a motion or gesture used to express/convey an idea, command, decision, etc; a notice bearing a name, direction, warning, or advertisement that is displayed/posted for public view.”
A symbol is “something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.”
That being said, we see signs and symbols on a daily basis. So, for example, when we see the cross, we understand what that represents; when we see a skull and crossbones on a label, we know it indicates poison. If you see a red octagon with the word STOP printed in white on it, you know what that means. So signs, symbols and names carry both spiritual and natural significance. They identify character and carry either blessings or curses. How many would name their daughters Jezebel or their sons Baal?
Every marketing manager, in building a brand or a product, knows that the name and logo must stand out to get the right message to their intended target market. There are times when companies will spend millions of dollars to rebrand and reposition their products and even their companies. Sometimes a slight or seemingly insignificant change can either turn customers away from the product/company or it can pull them towards it. So, for example, Red Stripe beer is known worldwide not just for the red stripe in the label, but also for the short, fat brown 330ml bottle – and the phrase is coined ‘Jamaican Pride in a Bottle’. However, with the generational differences that exist today, tastes, preferences and, more importantly, roles and functions are different and so, with the societal changes, the company saw the need to adjust its packaging by changing the bottle’s shape and tweaking the product itself.
Coat of Arms A coat of arms is supposed to reflect the nature and culture of the people and send a message of who we are as a people.
Our coat of arms carries two members of the original inhabitants – the Taino people (Arawaks), one female carrying a basket of food/fruits and one male carrying a bow. It also bears a red cross with five golden pineapples and a crocodile mounted atop the royal helmet of the British monarchy, above the heads of the two people. Underneath is the ribbon stating ‘Out Of Many One People’.
The original Jamaican Coat of Arms was given to the nation of Jamaica in 1661 under a Royal Warrant and was designed by William Sancroft, then Archbishop of Canterbury. It did not have all that we see on the current coat of arms. Since that time, there have been several changes, but the one constant is the Jamaican crocodile symbol lifted above everything else. Why is the crocodile lifted up above the people and everything else?
Psalm 74 and Job 41 speak of the creature known as Leviathan, which is also represented by the crocodile, alligator and sea serpent. This symbol represents oppression, king of pride, and it is an ancestral spirit, demonic in nature. It brings poverty, chaos, pain and hardship. It is also the symbol of Lotan, the god of chaos. In Isaiah 27:1 the Leviathan is used as a symbol for the wicked kings of the earth who withstand God’s people. The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology makes reference to the Hebrew term for the serpent creature ‘Tanniym’ (sea or river monster, dragon, serpent), which symbolise mystical intelligence, brute force and chaos (Revelation 17: 1). Additionally, the spirit of Leviathan controls trade, merchants and commerce, and brings the people into poverty.
The Taino holding the bow symbolises war and doing whatever it takes to protect your family for survival.
This means that the generation then was of the mindset that it would take brute force to control us, and also that they would need chaos and war among us to justify and maintain that control. They prophesied oppression over the nation.
So even the term ‘Jamaica Constabulary Force’ needs to be revisited, because the word ‘constabulary’ means “armed officers of peace organised on a military basis”; so that means the peacekeeping police are to be trained like soldiers who, are in fact, trained for war. That, in addition to the word ‘force’. How much force can a nation endure?
All these signs and symbols don’t and should not represent our people.
Change needs to be decreed over the nation through its symbols.
– Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including ‘End Time Finance’ and ‘The New Millionaire’.